Sunday, December 12, 2010


Come and see me at my new site!

Changes Ahead

There may be some changes coming up and some disruption to blogging ahead.  I am having issues with Blogger.  Well with Google and Turkey. 

Google doesn’t pay taxes in Turkey and so the government has internally blocked some of Google’s ISPs.  This means at the moment, my friends and readers in Turkey are unable to access my blog.  I am looking to move over the site to another provider but it might take a bit of time and research.  Hopefully this will be resolved soon.  Please let me know if you have any suggestions.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Allergic Catastrophe

Oh Thanksgiving!  We celebrated it on Saturday because in Turkey we don’t get the day off. (It is an American holiday after all.) We had a fantastic holiday except for the fact I thought I was going to pass out from pain starting at 4 am Saturday morning.  It was extremely fortuitous that I had prepared the majority of the food before Saturday because otherwise I would have had to cancel.  Cooking a large dinner for 16 people while you are fighting the urge to throw up from the pain is less than ideal. 

In case I have not mentioned it before, I am allergic to walnuts and hazelnuts.  My reactions have become stronger and more severe since I moved to Turkey and have had more accidental ingestions.  Allergies are not understood the same way here as they are in the US because people here rarely have allergies. 

For example, last year someone in my husband’s family, at whose home we had eaten very regularly, cooked with hazelnut oil in the food for six months.  They knew I was allergic and would even make me special desserts when the recipes called for hazelnut or walnuts.  I was incredibly ill for those six months and had to be hospitalized.  I thought my IBS had transformed into colitis.  I only found out my nut allergy triggers colitis when I saw them use the oil from a labeled can and they admitted they had been cooking with the oil since I moved to the country.  It turned out I do not have a chronic illness, and as soon as the oil was out of my system, I was absolutely fine.  

Friday night, I was at a banquet dinner for work and apparently they used nut oil in one of the sauces.  Cue incredible gastro-intestinal pain.  It started Saturday and continued into Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and subsided Wednesday evening.  Whew!   Yesterday I was able to discontinue the exclusive kefir and low-fat yogurt diet and eat some rice. 

While I feel lucky that my allergic reaction is not life threatening, it does affect my quality of life, as I was ill and miserable for at least five days.  After the original illness it does take another few days for my system to go back to normal.  It has been a full week as of today and I am fine as long as I eat lightly, and only low fat, easy to digest food. 

I am pretty vigilant about food when I eat out and cannot control the ingredients myself.  I have not actually had an accidental exposure to nuts since the original incident one a year ago.  As a saftey precaution I do not think I will be attending large banquet dinners where I cannot control my food choices or talk to the chef about ingredients. 

I do always try to look at the positive side of things.  While the whole situation was horrific it has provided me with a perfect excuse to avoid work dinners!

Thursday, December 2, 2010



How to have a successful Thanksgiving…

Friends+ Laughter+ Love+ Food+ Wine= Fantasticness

When I first moved away from home I was far enough away that I was not really able to go home for Thanksgiving. I have to admit to a lower lip tremble over that. I am from a very close family and getting together for the holidays has always been very important to us. But since I was away, I decided to make the best of the holidays and to create my own holiday rituals and customs.

I have been very lucky in my Thanksgivings since I left home. The first year, I lived in San Diego, it was just Bulent and me. After the large chaotic extended family Thanksgivings it was a little hard emotionally. However, the high point of that year was that I successfully learned how to cook the entire meal by myself.

The second year in San Diego my BFF from New Hampshire came out with her husband and we had an amazing time. They had never been to California so it was a beach vacation rolled into the Thanksgiving holiday for them. Together we made the meal and had such a happy holiday. It really soothed my holiday homesickness.

The third year in San Diego my cousin had moved to LA and we had many more close friends. That year we hosted a Bad Ass Thanksgiving, complete with apple cider martinis and after Turkey clubbing downtown.

Last year we didn’t host but this year we really did it in style. This was our first “Married” holiday so it was pretty special that way. We had a fantastic Thanksgiving. We hosted 16 people, there was food, conversation and general merriment. We had an amazing time.

In the short time I have been in Ankara I have been lucky enough to make some truly amazing friends. Now I have my family that I was born to and the family that I have made. Holidays are no longer a time of the lower lip trembling-- which is excitement in itself.

While Thanksgiving was a blast there was a lot to the preparation because of the amount of food to be cooked.

TXGIV TURKEY 2010 It included--

2 Turkeys
3 Kilos of green bean casserole
4 Kilos of mashed pumpkin
3 Kilos of cauliflower gratin
2 Kilos mashed potato
1 Salad
1 Pecan pie
1 Pumpkin pie
1 Apple pie
1 Crazy Allergic Reaction*


While I did cook most of the food myself, two of my amazing friends decided to deal with the kitchen afterwards. They did all of the pots and pans, put away the food and in general took care of 90% of the clean up. It was the best gift EVER!

Next year I will re-introduce the apple cider martinis and the dinner may be potluck. It will still be fantastic though, no matter what! All the trappings and trimmings Thanksgiving just disguise the real point of the holiday. A time for our “Framily” (friends+family) to spend time together.

*One of the reasons this post is so late and also will be the subject of the next post.